Religious Women in Early Carolingian Francia, a groundbreaking study of the intellectual and monastic culture of the Main Valley during the eighth century, looks closely at a group of manuscripts associated with some of the best-known personalities of the European Middle Ages, including Boniface of Mainz and his "beloved,"abbess Leoba of Tauberbischofsheim. This is the first study of these "Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Germany" to delve into the details of their lives by studying the manuscripts that were produced in their scriptoria and used in their communities. The author explores how one group of religious women helped to shape the culture of medieval Europe through the texts they wrote and copied, as well as through their editorial interventions.
Using compelling manuscript evidence, she argues that the content of the women's books was overwhelmingly gender-egalitarian and frequently feminist (i.e., resistant to patriarchal ideas). This intriguing book provides unprecedented glimpses into the "feminist consciousness" of the women's and mixed-sex communities that flourished in the early Middle Ages.
Felice Lifshitz is Professor of Women's Studies and Religious Studies at University of Alberta. She is the author of The Name of the Saint: The Martyrology of Jerome and Access to the Sacred in Francia (627-827) (University of Notre Dame Press, 2005) and The Norman Conquest of Pious Neustria:Historiographic Discourse and Saintly Relics (684 -1090) (Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Press, 1995)